A forgetful beginning

It has been said that to properly incorporate a habit into one’s daily practice, the habit needs to be practiced for 21 days before it becomes ingrained into our everyday lives. For these 21 days there needs to be a conscious effort to assert oneself to make the practice into a habit. The catch with the No Impact Week (NIW) project is that it is, well, only one week long. Following this difficulty lies the stressful fact that NIW’s goal isn’t to change one habit; NIW’s purpose is to consciously make  comprehensive change most of our habits relating to consumption. Sure I might make a conscious effort to print double sided pages for my essays and turn off lights when I leave my tiny dorm, but, in my normal impact-full life, do I unplug my chargers? Buy nothing pre-packaged? Bring my own tupperware to Slayter instead of using disposable paper plates? (This list goes ON)… No, I don’t do these things.

The level conscious effort in this sustainable experiment is high. I opened up a bag of chips today, and upon eating the first one, I realized that very shortly the plastic bag will shortly end up in a pile of trash where it will be for thousands of years. I couldn’t return the chips though. Can’t reuse the bag.

It will be interesting to see how well I can monitor most of my habits this week, while also creating new ones. I expect to reach the goals that I set, yet there are SO MANY other possible habits I could utilized that I hadn’t thought about until I opened that bag of chips. Trash is everywhere around us; cutting back on consumption that produces trash should be tough.

Oliver Hamilton


  1. Oliver – I really have had a forgetful beginning! I like how you mention the idea about habits because having a fan on in my room (for the noise, the air circulation, the comfort, etc) has definitely been part of my habits since arriving on campus this fall. To try and alter this habit and conserve energy, I made it one of my goals to unplug my fan that I keep on 24/7 (oops!) when I am not in the room. Unfortunately, prior to leaving my room this morning, I failed to unplug my fan. My habit continues. This means that it has been running all morning. And all night. And everyday without stopping since two weekends ago when I left for the weekend and unplugged it (at least I remembered then, right?!). I don’t think I can blame my forgetfulness on having a case of the Mondays. I just forgot and I felt so silly when I realized I had forgotten to do something that could so easily be done! Maybe you felt the same way with the chip bag…but at least we have 4.5 more days to attempt to change some habits and to work towards our goals of No Impact. Here’s to remembering to unplug my fan next time I leave the room! – Whitney

  2. Totally! Also, you remember that we are actually starting the project tomorrow…but I’m really glad to see you are thinking about it already. In fact, to prepare for the week, I’m trying to get as much leaning done today as I can (e.g. vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms)….is this cheating?

  3. Oliver, I, myself, understand the struggles of trying to remember to not go through one’s daily routines. After almost two semesters here at Denison, I think we can all say we have somewhat of a routine day to day. And often times what we eat makes up that routine. If someones routine includes eating food out of containers that cannot be recycled, like the chip bag, it may be very hard to break or quit cold turkey.

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